Italian accessories company Valextra is the latest Italian firm to consider going public.
Chairman and CEO Emanuele Carminati Molina is in talks with several private equity funds, including London-based Neo Capital, to expand the brand and eventually go public.
“It’s a magic moment,” said Carminati Molina said recently at a presentation. “We are a small brand, but we have become a point of reference in luxury,” he said, admitting that a number of large groups such as PPR, Samsung and “the biggest Chinese fund” have been eyeing the Italian company, which last year posted revenues of 13.5 million euro, or 17.3 million dollars.
Carminati Molina realised expanding the company globally would need an injection of fresh cash.
“At first, I was more inclined toward a partner with know-how and experience in this sector, but then I realized that becoming part of a group, for example, I may not be privy to strategies and plans,” said the entrepreneur.
While at first concerned that a financial partner would not help develop Valextra for the long-term, Carminati Molina changed his mind. “I now see they are often organised entities, with a motivated management, and we are accelerating our evaluations of possible funds,” he added.
The prerequisite is for the potential partner to be “respectful of the brand, which is inextricably linked to our philosophy and concept, and as long as it understands it should remain Italian and Milanese,” he explained.
Carminati Molina said he’s already invested 40 million euro, or 52.9 million dollars at current exchange, in Valextra.
Valextra operates a flagship in Milan, six stores in Japan and five in Korea.
The brand is exclusively distributed by Barneys New York in the U.S., Le Bon Marché in Paris and Selfridges in London, including 11 other retailers in Europe.